Earlier this year, I quit my corporate job at one of the largest tech companies to explore the world of remote work. It was my first job after my studies, and I had no solid back-up plan of what I was going to do next – I literally made the leap into the unknown.

Nine months have passed since handing in my notice and venturing into the world, and I can genuinely say I couldn’t have been any happier. Sure, there have been ups and downs and making the transition from a comfortable office job to a location independent lifestyle does come with its challenges. But, if you accept challenges as growth opportunities and have a crystal clear view of your ultimate goal, then even these are experiences to be grateful for.

“Every mistake is an opportunity to get better. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” – Sean Rad

In light of Thanksgiving, I’ve been taking some time to reflect on the past year. Hence, in this weeks’ series post I would like to share 9 things I am most grateful for since quitting my corporate job and currently working remote as a freelance digital marketing consultant:

1. Working from wherever I feel most happy and productive

Since venturing into the world of remote work, I’ve worked and ‘lived’ in beautiful locations such as Bali, Porto, Lisbon, Dublin, Rotterdam, and California. I work from wherever I feel best working from that day, whether from home, a cozy cafe, or a co-working space. I am grateful for having the freedom to work from wherever I feel most happy and productive.

2. Crossing off bucket list items while working remote

In the past several months, I flew in a six-person airplane (one seat right behind the pilot!), did a road trip from San Francisco to San Diego with one of my best friends, and was invited to deliver a workshop at one of the top Ivy League US Business Schools. I even created my very first eBook which will be launched very soon (stay tuned)! I am grateful for having the opportunity to travel the world and cross off bucket list items while working remote.

3. Seeing family and friends whenever I want

Having travelled or lived abroad for most part of my twenties, I can’t even count the number of birthdays I’ve missed. Since working remote, I’ve been able to surprise my childhood friend for her 30th birthday, witness my cousin’s proposal, and attend my “little” brother’s 21st birthday (which I had missed for the past six years). Hence, I am grateful for having the freedom to choose when to work abroad or when to spend quality time with my loved ones.

4. Being able to live in the moment

I am grateful for being able to live in the moment and follow my guts to see where I will go next; whether for personal or professional reasons. It made me decide to stay home for the holidays rather than to travel, refocus my business priorities, and to plan spontaneous trips with friends and attend the world’s best tech conferencewhile exploring new cities. Live in the moment and follow your intuition – you’ll be surprised by the opportunities that unfold.

“Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” — Steve Jobs

5. Being comfortable to make mistakes

When I started out as a freelancer, I had no idea where to even begin and if I was doing things “the right way”. I soon discovered that I was way underpricing myself, that the invoice I’d sent to my client abroad wasn’t according to international rules, and that back-ups are not magically appearing after a website crash (believe me, it happened… twice). But – I am grateful for being comfortable to make mistakes. Learn from them, and move on.

6. Having the courage to say no

I am grateful for having the courage to say “No, thanks” when needed. Whether recruiters at top tech companies reach out to me with tempting job offers, potential clients reach out for projects not aligned with my professional values, or having to decline a trip of a lifetime so I can focus on business priorities instead. Learn to say no with your long-term goal in mind.

7. Developing marketable skills

From creating and designing my own website, building a solid social media presence and following, growing my client portfolio across the globe, but also sorting out business insurance, taxes and crafting legal documents. I am grateful for the skills and experiences I’ve gained over the past months – even those which did not directly translate into income.

8. Being surrounded by like-minded people

I am grateful for having a supportive family, an inspiring community of like-minded people, and friends across the globe who inspire me to become the best version of myself. They say you’re the average of the five persons you spend the most time with, so surround yourself with a support group of like-minded people who help, motivate and inspire each other.

9. Having experienced corporate in the best way possible

Last but not least, I am extremely grateful for the experience I’ve gained at LinkedIn. When starting your first week, they will tell you that you will undoubtedly leave the company someday – their only hope is that you will leave as a better professional. Hence, I took every opportunity to strengthen and expand my marketable skills: I accepted speaking gigs after work hours and during break times, helped cross-functional teams with projects outside of my core role, and scheduled 1:1’s and shadowing sessions to learn from co-workers.

If it wasn’t for the above experiences, I wouldn’t have been able to kickstart my location independent career as it has – and for that, I will always be grateful.

I’d like to invite you to reflect on your moments of gratitude, both personal and professional, over the past year. What are you grateful for? What are you particularly proud of? What would you stop, start, continue doing in 2019? I’m curious to hear in comments below.

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